Martin Davila - new chair of Protective Services
Martin Davila, Protective Services Chairperson
Former Adjunct Takes
Over First Responders Academy
When Martin Davila rejoined the Fire Science Department in
2012 as an adjunct instructor at the First Responders Academy, he never thought
he would end the year as the new chair of Protective Services.
With a laugh he calls himself “the last man standing.”
Davila, 51, is now in charge of this program some 17 years after he first
taught classes here in Fire Science.
Established in 1968, Fire Science and Protective Services is
part of Professional Technical Education (PTE) at SAC. It includes the First
Responders Academy that opened in 2009 in Atascosa. Prior to 2009, students and
faculty utilized borrowed facilities all over San Antonio and Bexar County. Davila
said he is amazed at the new state-of-the-art facilities that serve the needs
of not only SAC students, but also firefighters from around the state.
In addition to being department chair, Davila teaches the
hazardous materials course. His hopes the academy will become the training facility for South Texas.
Davila has worked as a fire chief for a division of
Halliburton previously. He also helped establish fire academies in Kosovo and Macedonia
to train the local people to be firefighters. Davila calls his work with the
people one of his greatest accomplishments because he was able to make a
different in their lives and their standard of living. Some 100 people were
certified through the programs.
Davila also served with Halliburton as the Director of Fire
& Emergency Services, working under the U.S. Military in Kuwait. His
mission was to rebuild fire safety for the embassy in Iraq and also 10 fire
departments in the Mideast.
A native of San Antonio, Davila trained to be a firefighter while
in the Air Force.
When he enlisted, the recruiter asked him, “What kind of job
do you want?” Davila said, “I thought he asked if I wanted to be a farmer, but what
he really asked was if I wanted to be a fireman.”
Davila has associate degrees from the Community College of
the Air Force and Palo Alto College, and he says he is close to completing a
bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M-San Antonio. “I always wanted one of my kids
to be a doctor; now, I’m determined to get my Ph.D.,” he said. Davila has three
children, ranging in age from 16 to 27.
His wife Cecilia, is a native of Romania.
SAC offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Fire
Science and Fire and Arson Investigation. Certificates include: Basic
Firefighter - Level 1; Fire Inspector - Level 1; and Fire and Arson
Investigation - Level 1. Fire Science has six full-time and 10 part-time
adjunct instructors. Some 343 students are enrolled in the program this spring.
for more information on these programs.
When asked what two things make a good firefighter, Davila said,
“dedication and being able to follow directions and procedures. You have to be
a good follower before you can be a leader.”
In addition to being a new chair and enjoying time with his
family, Davila says he hopes to get back to playing golf — which he hasn’t been
able to do in years.